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Those awakening Chemo Hours: the organic puzzle of life

February 16, 2012

I always wake up either in the middle of the night for an hour or so, or at five in the morning and can’t get back to sleep. The morning mist from my Chemo brain either burns off our settles like a fog around my ankles, chilling me. I set up the ear phones and listened to Mile’s Davis’ Bitches Brew (Haunting early morning stuff, but then again, I’m getting haunted by the sublet ghost of cancer) and then The Birth of Cool. Then I let my mind wander in what made me. Like I’ve said, I turn to music because cancer doesn’t have a beat, it has to seek out a blood source, like a radio consultant who never cracked a mike but knows how to reach a demographic. Either way, my parents still visit me. My mother first visited me when I was at at ATM machine getting some cash to bring Laurie some flowers on Easter, and during that transaction my whole body became a liquid conduit and everything through me was warm and coagulating and I thought, “I know who this is.” It was the same sensation I would always have when her eyes lit up and saw me enter the house (How I always remember the sound of her heels hitting the kitchen floor from downstairs while I was up in my room and followed by the sound of shopping bags and her saying, “Frtizie, come down and help me get the rest of the bags from the store.” The nurturer.) And my Dad–his death hit the hardest because he was the last one. And he’s more of a perennial presence, his humor and intelligence, he introduced me to the world of the library and history and steered me away from fixing cars to going to college. But as I lay there in bed I whimper at the discomfort caused by “my treatment” and say, “Give me something, give me something.” And my parents reappear and they are hugging me, they are pressing me close. They’re saying you’re not done yet. You still have something original to throw out there. Cancer doesn’t have parents, but it should have in-laws.

My Mom once sent me a card with a bunch of penquins on it, and one of the penquins says, “I gotta be me.” My parents were probably disappointed that I never had kids, but I have to say I never had the desire. People have said I’d have been a good father, but I doubt if I told them how to raise their kid they’d listen to me–you have to have skin in that game to roll the dice or even be entitled to crap out. My Dad worked for AMF and he was a very successful personnel consultant, corporate headquarters, the whole deal. But my Dad never spoke to me differently than he spoke to anyone else. He was all Fred Reiss and he instilled that in me. My Mom always inflated my balloon so I could fly. SO I think of these things as I move rearrange the jigsaw puzzle of my every changing life. There’s always another piece, and none of them are fixed, they’re spongy and organic, and they change the puzzle but the pieces keep fitting. So I lay there, and know I have been given something. I was always best at being Fred. Their Fred. I’ll take that and a solid set of baseball cards to flap between my bike spokes as I pedal off to adulthood’s massive puzzle (Never trust crosswords, they can be solved.).

Some way to wake up, huh?

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